Monday, February 06, 2017

Hand Applique: 318 Patchwork Patterns

Feb. 6, 2017: The blog has been very quiet because I took on an enormous responsibility at work starting May 2016 and continuing to the end of April 2017.  Instead of my usual fare, I am crafting exams, study guides, homework assignments, etc.  I did manage a bit of fun crafting in the summer but that time is sadly reduced during the school year. You can imagine how excited I am for the end of April and some down time.

For some reason, this never posted way back in the summer. So here is something I was up to this summer and that I look forward to resuming soon!

I have been in the mood for an applique project for some time now. I was especially motivated after reading some excellent tutorials on Teresa Rawson's blog, Fabric Therapy. I have tried needle turn applique and the starch + freezer paper method and I did not like either that much. Teresa's technique is fast and actually enjoyable!  I think I like preparing the pieces and basting them to the block more than the stitching now.  Teresa is a genius!

I was on the hunt for the applique perfect project.  I wanted something sort of fun and small and a little bit Japanese.  I settled eventually on the book 318 Patchwork Patterns by Kumiko Fujita. The blocks are so charming! Be warned, if you have never done applique, this is not a technique book.  It is a book of reduced sized patterns which you will need to enlarge.  And thanks to the brilliant VeryKerryBerry, I learned how to resize the images and print them from my computer. She is demonstrating the pieced blocks from the book but the technique is the same.  I made my blocks larger than what the book recommends--just over 8 inches, which is what an 8.5 x 11 sheet would allow.

Then I went stash diving and found some fabrics in the palette I wanted with the style I was looking for: cute and sweet. I thought I could get away with using most of my stash for the background fabrics but most of my fabrics had a yellow tint to them which did not work with my palette. I filled in with some fabrics from my LQS.

Here are the first four blocks:

I am enjoying this so much that I may end up making SEVERAL more blocks.  I have no idea how I will set them but I am not really concerned about that right now.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Owls Join the Fancy Forest

We're at about the halfway point in our Fancy Forest BOM! The June and July blocks are the very stern looking owls.

I enjoyed piecing these more than the rabbits.  They are certainly time consuming, however. :) 

For the strips of the belly, I found that my pieces shrunk in length as I sewed them together. I began cutting them a half inch longer than called for and cutting the pieced sections down to size.  That was a big help. 

With the pieces around the eyes, you have to be careful that the fabrics you choose don't look odd in narrow strips.  Some shapes or a certain sizes of prints don't work that well in those narrow pieces. You also have to watch out if you have directional fabrics on any of the squares that are sewn on the diagonal into triangles.  I folded mine first to see which direction I wanted them to face and then drew my sewing line.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Also, weaving.

You would not know it from my blog posts but if you follow me on Instagram (knitncrochet), you'll know that I have been weaving. These Bronson Check Towels were made for a Christmas swap for the staff and teachers at my LYS, Stitch Your Art Out. The pattern came from an issue of Ashford's "The Wheel" magazine, which I found out about after seeing this in one of the rigid heddle forums on Ravelry.  This was a great pattern and a fun project; I would definitely make this again.  I bought double bobbin boat shuttles to do this project (the yarn was doubled) and they required a bit of a learning curve but were a worthwhile purchase.  I have done other projects winding the yarn doubled on a single bobbin and it was a challenge, as the two strands wound off unevenly.  More info on my Ravelry project page.  

Not only have I woven on my rigid heddle but also on a table loom!  My friend Meredith loaned me her Ashford 16 harness 24 inch table loom.

My first project, a 4 shaft disaster, has very little photographic evidence. 

This was to be a scarf and I made a rookie mistake--I threaded and beat it for plain weave but it was a twill pattern and should have been done at a closer sett. As I was weaving, I trusted that the gaps would sort of fill in. Nope.  It was a very holey scarf! Live and learn! Yarn was Cascade Ultra Pima in a 10 dent reed.

My second project on the table loom was a set of towels using 8 shafts.  This was Reversing Point Twill Flowers, draft here. This time I knew to change the sett and beat differently.  Still, I could not get the number of picks per inch that I should have, which was baffling.  I did some reading in Ravelry forums and some weavers said that if you are working on a smaller loom, like a table loom, you should sett it a bit looser if doing twill (can't remember if this only applies to reversing point or to all twill).  Yarn was Halcyon Yarn's Homestead 8/2 Cotton: 24 epi in a 12 dent reed. 

I made some errors on the threading (missed the eye of a heddle, skipped a heddle, accidentally threaded one dent with 4 instead of 2 threads).  I spent a lot of time learning how to fix my mistakes.  It was useful but not exactly fun.

My third project, no surprise here, towels again!  I warped the loom for 6 towels using reversing point twill.  Still with Homestead 8/2 Cotton but the sett is 20 epi and I can get a better, denser fabric. My first project is the Modified Starwork Dishtowel from Webs.  I saw this floating around on Ravelry and was dying to try it.  I finally got to the point with this project where threading the heddles and reed felt meditative and fun.  I wasn't sure that would ever happen so I was pleasantly surprised to have it happen so early on in my weaving career.  Happily, no threading errors (I learned from last time how to get better at checking for mistakes). I can't tell you how magical it felt to weave and see this pattern turn out! 

I'll do a couple of towels with the stars and then move on to 1-2 towels in hearts, possibly this draft.  After that, I will have the fun of picking out what the remaining 2 towel patterns will be.

The bottom side under the cloth beam (red dominant fabric) is what will actually be the "right side" of the fabric.

I am not sure what my next project will be.  There is a summer gamp weave along on Ravelry that I would love to join.  I also had plans to do a cotton/linen blend scarf in Juniper Moon Farm Zooey like this one by DewDropArts on Ravelry.

While visiting my mom in Michigan in May, I had the chance to drive to Heritage Spinning and Weaving to try out a Schacht Baby Wolf and a Louet David.  Both looms were really nice!  I fell in love with the David and am looking forward to having a floor loom in the near future.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as my big plans for the summer, although ironically, my summer this year is incredibly busy.  Do you have big plans for your summer projects?

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Fancy Bunnies

Work in the Fancy Forest continues.  Rabbits, as we all know, have a tendency to multiply. :) 

April bunny blocks

Not sure what happened to my brain when making these blocks in April and May but I messed them up royally.  I assumed I remembered what I was doing from one time to the next and pieced things together with only minimal referencing of the book.  I am now not allowed to assume that I remember what I am doing, as I just did the same thing with some of the upcoming owl blocks!

May bunny blocks

These bunnies were a bit challenging and I thought that they would be easier than the owls, but surprisingly, I find the owls to be easier!  Watch for owl pics later this month.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

I May Need an Intervention

I follow Arne and Carlos on Instagram.  They do super colorwork and fun projects.  For years I have wanted to try making their Christmas balls.  

They posted a video a little before Easter on how to knit fair isle Easter Eggs.  Naturally, I had to order their book, Easter Knits, and buy some Dalegarn Falk at my LYS.  I finished one egg on Easter.  Easter is past but I can't seem to stop knitting them!  I even bought more yarn to do more eggs in more colors.

Yarn: Dalegarn Falk
Needles: Size 2 DPNs

Sunday, April 03, 2016

More Fancy Forest Foxes

Our March meeting of the Fancy Forest BOM was a continuation of the fox block.  I love these fabrics!

Because each block uses different fabrics, each one is a fun surprise.  Here are all of the foxes together:

In April, we will be making 4 of the bunny blocks.  Preview:

You can still join the Fancy Forest BOM at Stitch Your Art Out if you are local.  If not, kits will be available for purchase soon. I will let you know when they are available.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Fancy Forest Block of the Month

It is no secret that I am a sucker for cute.  I had this plan that 2016 would be a bucket list year and I would start six projects, one every other month, from a list of projects I have long wanted to make.  But then an opportunity came along to make a Fancy Forest quilt and teach it as a block of the month at my local quilt shop. And I decided to put more work into a sweater I had been neglecting and to start a new project on a table loom I had borrowed.  Now we are at the end of February and no bucket list projects are happening. :)  So, the bucket list is postponed due to "cute interruption" until either June or next January.

On to the Fancy Forest quilt.  I don't know about you, but one of my favorite parts of quilt making is selecting the fabrics.  To make a large quilt from this pattern, you need 40 fat quarters, a background fabric, as well as a light and a dark fabric for face details.

The first pattern in Elizabeth Hartman's booklet is the fox, which was one of my favorite animals in this quilt.  The instructions are very clear and easy to follow; however, no amount of instructions will help you if you don't check to make sure your seam allowance is a scant 1/4".

My seam allowance, it turns out, had been too large.  I made a few blocks before I realized and I had to resort to sewing some thin strips of scrap fabric together to get the exact right spot on my Bernina.

These blocks are super fun to make!  Below are the first 8 of 16 foxes.  I made duplicates of each because I am making a sample for the shop and a quilt for myself.

 Our version of the quilt is going to be a bit more blue/green and red/purple.  I can't wait to show you the next installment.

Stitch Your Art Out will be selling the kits.  You can call to order yours (814) 238-4151.  If you live in central PA, you can join our class!  We meet once a month on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. through December.